The Manly Steam

23 Nov

Jeffery Kleinsauser loved going to Club Fit, a local gym in the area. Whether it was racquetball, basketball, or working on the guns, Jack, Jeff and I had many times shared together at this chappaquitian instutitution (ironically located in Briarcliff, NY).

Jeff and Jack working out at the Best Western in Jacksonville, FL on our epic road trip to Key West in 2009

While Jeff loved going for the physical fitness, I loved going for the whirlpool, sauna, and steam room. Ever since I was young, my Uncle Phil always took me to the steam room (he called it the schvitz) and sauna at his local club in California. Perhaps the schvitz and sauna are classic activities for a Jewish uncle, but I have taken it up over the years.

To everyones dismay, I always spoke about my excitement for the steam room and sauna at the end of my workout. It seems like my generation doesn’t understand the sheer awesomeness of these activities. For years, I always encouraged anyone I saw at Club Fit – AB, Chang, Kleinsaucer, Jack – to come a join me for my ritual. And, routinely, they respectfully declined my invitation.

After literally years of lobbying, I finally caught Jeff’s ear one day while riding in the car with him to club fit. I think he felt bad that I always lobbied, and always failed to get people to come with me. So, as we were getting out of the car, Jeff exclaimed to me:

“You know what Lonnie, I’ll give you this one. When we are done working out today, I will join you for a steam.”

“I am telling you,” I responded, “If one were to define living the dream, it would be going for a satisfying steam and sauna after a work out!”

Normally, we would start out with Racquetball (Jeff always kicked my ass), followed by Basketball (Ditto), and a nice lift. As we were approaching the last set, Jeff could see the excitement in my eyes. Not so long after, we entered the steam room, sat down, and spoke about what was happening in the sports world. After we exited the steam room, Jeff finally grasped why I held a steam in such high esteem:

“I know why you like that steam room so much,” Jeff said, “Because it’s so goddamn manly.”

From that day forward, the steam room became the “manly steam.” And with Jeff’s renaming of the event came increased interest in the activity. Soon we followed the manly steam with a manly sweat (the sauna). And over the years, to my delight, Jack, Jeff, and everyone else have come to realize the beauty for what the “manly” steam is.


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